Why This Co-Founder Puts Design at the Center of His Baby-Food Company Design has come a long way–and it’s only getting bigger.

By: Amy Whyte

Date: 27/05/2014

If you asked Neil Grimmer, the only thing more exciting than the recent progress of design is its future.

With new technology like 3D printing helping make design more accessible, the Plum Organics co-founder and former senior designer at innovation consultancy IDEO is downright giddy over the prospects for his industry and business in general. “The more ideas there are out in the world that get brought to life…the better we’re all off for it,” he says.

The San Francisco-based Grimmer has more than a decade of design experience–first at IDEO and then as a vice president of strategy and innovation at Clif Bar & Company. And though has moved on to baby food in his latest company, the import of design is never out of his thoughts.

To find out why design is so important, I spoke to Grimmer recently by phone. Here’s an edited version of our interview.

What’s your definition of a good design?

Neil Grimmer: The conversation around design used to always be around form and function. What I get inspired by now is design that constitutes form, function and the future. So it’s designing a better social or environmental impact. That’s very similarly to what we’ve done at Plum, where we design a baby food product that was ultimately trying to deliver better health food for little ones, and do it in a way that had a lighter footprint on the planet. I get really inspired by that. One of the best examples in my mind is probably Tesla right now where they really combine amazing aesthetics and user-centered design with an awesome sustainability story attached to it.

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